Heart disease is America’s No. 1 killer. Add up all deaths in the U.S. in a year from all other causes together and the number is about half of the deaths caused by heart disease! Most people think of heart disease as a man’s disease, but the truth of the matter is that heart disease is the No. 1 killer of women. Since an American woman suffers a heart attack every minute, it’s a good idea to become familiar with symptoms that many women overlook.

Baby boomers know when it comes to your health, it’s important to be proactive. Our favorite reliable online resource for overall health information is WebMD. It’s also advisable to know the basics about performing cardio-pulmonary resuscitation (CPR) which can double or triple the victim’s chance of survival. The latest thinking is that it’s ok to skip the rescue breathing (mouth-to-mouth) and just do chest compression.

Stem cell biology is on the current medical frontier for heart disease. Stem cell transplantation represents an opportunity to develop new treatments of cardiovascular disease. Researchers are working toward using stem cells to replace damaged heart cells and literally restore cardiac function. An excellent resource for recent discoveries that feature stem cell replacement and muscle regeneration strategies is the NIH website.

The bar has been raised when it comes to diagnosing and treating heart disease. Imaging systems help cardiologists clearly see the blood vessels and anatomy of the heart. All-digital 3D cath labs allow cardiologists to give patients a quicker diagnosis with less exposure, thereby reducing the need for additional procedure time. It also allows for specialized cardiologists to perform procedures that can eliminate irregularities of the heart with the most advanced procedures available. This leading-edge technology is especially useful in the treatment of atrial fibrillation, or AFib, which is the most common form of irregular heart rhythm in the United States.

The new gold standard in treating valvular heart disease is 3D Echocardiography or non-invasive 3D ultrasound. Recent advances in this field have allowed improved visualization of cardiac structures which help provide valuable insights into cardiac function. The most significant advancement has been the development of rapid real-time 3D acquisition and rendering with color Doppler 3D imaging.

Robotically-assisted heart surgery is another in the latest technological advances. Development of precise and intelligent robotic-enhanced instruments has reached the point where it has become possible to utilize minimally invasive techniques that shorten hospital stay and return patients to an active lifestyle more quickly.

Not just baby boomers, but all agers want to live well and long with strong hearts.